Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Favorites: Almost Beach Bound Edition

This week has been a busy one. Plus rainy... which always makes things a little tougher. We've had lots of appointments, work stuff, errands, and things we're trying to get done before we leave for the beach. Thankfully most of it was accomplished! It wasn't always pretty, but we got it done. #phew

Here's a look at my faves before we head out for our week at the beach....

*Out of the blue our big boys have gotten super into baseball cards again... which means Layton is enjoying them too... which means they're everywhere. Ha! They've been really creative with their cards and love using the players on the cards to make baseball teams and to play a version of baseball games. They've been a big summer hit so far. =)

*Tuesday was a big errand day for us and the boys even had to do a little shopping with me. They did really good so as a reward and to waste some time while it rained, they "jumped" afterwards. 

#simplefun #worksforme

*The USA puzzle they got for Easter has become a summer favorite. LOVE. We had one similar to this when we were little and it really helped me learn the geography of our country as a child. So I'm super excited my kiddos are doing the same now. =)

*These 3 started making their own breakfast this week! They aren't scrambling eggs or frying bacon but they are doing most of the work required for their simple breakfasts. They've started getting out their own breakfast foods (most mornings, a nutri grain bar and cereal) and making their plates and bowls. I'm still pouring milk and making toast if they want it but I'm pretty impressed so far. Hopefully this will be a big help on school mornings!

*Anna and I (along with the 4 kiddos) went to the school this week so I could get a start on my classroom! I'm sort of kicking myself for not taking a before and after picture, (or a single picture at all), but while there is still TONS to be done, I'm so excited and thankful for getting a great start!! Anna is a huge resource and help since she's a former PreK teacher so I feel like I have an awesome advantage. =) And my free time at home has been spent printing, laminating, and cutting. Squeal!! I can't believe it's actually about to happen!

*The boys will be sharing a room all week at the beach and sleeping in bunk beds similar to what we have.... so we tested it out at home twice this week. We had success once, and the other time Layton had to go sleep in his bed. Poor baby just couldn't go to sleep and was keeping Garrison up. We're thinking about moving Austin to the bottom bunk with Layton while we're at the beach and having Garrison up top. Fingers crossed they do okay all week!!

*No matter what, I love how excited they all are to be together. It make for a sweet bedtime for sure. =)

Today is all about packing and cleaning the house. I have a ton to do but hopefully I can move quickly and cross it all off my list! I'm also considering implementing a no screen time day so the boys can help me be productive. =) 

We are soo looking forward to getting away, unplugging, and enjoying beach life and lots of family time for a whole week. Happy Friday!! I hope to be back with a recap the week of the 4th. =)  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Gatlinburg + Father's Day

We are home from a really fun family getaway and we enjoyed a sweet Father's Day to wrap up our weekend. We had a great few days together!

Thursday morning we hit the road early and set out for Gatlinburg, TN. Thanks to 2 movies on the way up, nobody throwing up, and only having to stop once for lunch and a bathroom break we had a pretty easy trip. YAY. =)

We met Terrell's parents there and once we got settled at our condo, we loaded up the suburban with all 7 of us and went over to Pigeon Forge for a little exploring of The Island... a "family fun center and entertainment complex". We watched the fountain, walked around, and then when it started raining on us we decided to go ahead and have an early supper. The rain was over by the time we finished supper and went back out. It worked out perfect!

Layton talked about wanting to see a bear nonstop once we arrived in Gburg but then when we finally found one he was too intimidated to get his picture made with it. Hahaha!

He got a little closer to this one. Turns out he prefers bears from a safe distance. =)

We ate fro-yo at The Island plus let the boys pan for gems before heading back to our condo at the top of the mountain in Gatlinburg. By the time we got back and got the boys settled and ready for bed, the sun was setting and the sky was GORGEOUS. 


Friday morning we woke up and got ready for a big breakfast and a day at Dollywood!!

We had so much fun. We got wet on a water ride, got sweaty in the sun, laughed a ton, rode lots of rides, guzzled powerade and water like crazy, and totally wore ourselves out. It was a great day. =)

Layton was my driver on the hot rod ride, our first ride of the day. He loved it!

He wasn't as big of a fan of the scrambler though. Bless it. That ride really whips you around like crazy and eventually I had to hold onto his head to keep it steady. Hahaha.

The big boys were huge fans!

The carousel was popular with everybody. =)

We even did the high, big-kid/adult swings. (They aren't nearly as high as Six Flags but still a big deal for our middle. He loved it!!) Layton wasn't tall enough to ride those so while we were riding some bigger rides, Nana took him to do some kiddie rides. 

These little rides were perfect for him!


And we couldn't miss the train ride!

While we were having fun at Dollywood, Bailey was enjoying her vacay with Granna and Papa. =) #sheisn'tallowedonfurnitureatourhouse #Ithinkshelovedhergetaway

One of the last rides we did were the little teacups. The big boys rode with Terrell while Layton was riding  the elephants with Nana and then afterwards when Layton wanted to ride the teacups the big boys decided they'd ride again too. Layton was soo hot and tired by this point but he really did enjoy the ride even though he looks miserable in this picture! 

We ate Cheddars for supper in Pigeon Forge (yum!!) before heading back to Gatlinburg and up the mountain to the condo. And on our way up, Terrell's mom spotted a bear!! Such a cool highlight of our trip! We pulled over and got as close as we could and rolled down our windows and made pictures and talked and the mama bear was never phased. She kept right on eating and looked up once I think. 

We didn't realize she was a mama bear until we saw this little guy!! And there were 2 of them! It was so neat to be so close to them and watch them for a while. We all loved seeing some real, live bears!!

Saturday morning we woke up, loaded up, and got ready for the trip home with a special pit stop planned to celebrate Kara's birthday and Father's Day. This trip to Gatlinburg was probably my favorite ever. We don't have a very good track record with our Gburg trips thanks to sickies invading us, but this time we all stayed well and could all enjoy ourselves. YAY! Big thanks to Nana and Pops for inviting us!!

We met Kara and fam at a park on the way home and enjoyed lunch, cake, presents, and play time. It was the perfect way to see them and celebrate before coming the rest of the way home. The boys had a ball.

Pops and his grands. =)

Saturday afternoon and evening we crashed. The trip and lack of naps had gotten the best of Layton and after multiple meltdowns and screaming episodes, we fed everyone, got them bathed, and put them to bed. Phew. It was pretty exhausting for this mama. 

Sunday morning we woke up to Father's Day with the best daddy ever! I know lots of people probably think their husband, or their dad is the best, but this guy really IS the best! We love him so much and I prayed for him and his qualities as a dad before we ever became friends or started dating and God answered above and beyond what I could pray for. Words can't express my love or gratitude for him and I am immensely grateful our boys have him as their role model. 

We had a sweet and special morning at church before having lunch with the best Papa ever! It was a fun Sunday and a special day with the dads in the fam, including my sweet Paw Paw. =) God has provided my boys with some great examples of Godly men and I am so thankful for His grace. 

This week is a busy one before we head out of town again.... just call us professional travelers. Haha! We are super excited about our beach vacay!! Have a great Tuesday! =)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Summer Update

Since we're leaving to go out of town again today, I thought I'd check in with a little summer update. I haven't made a single picture since Terrell and I got back from our anniversary trip but I still want to be intentional about documenting the highlights and happenings of our 1st half of summer. 

*Things around here have been a little crazy. It's definitely been a different kind of summer so far. Thankfully our biggest boy is back to 100%. YAY! But that means lots of playing, lots of fighting, and lots of craziness. Ha. The fighting has been at an all time high and soo frustrating. Ugh. But then again, so has the playing. So I'm trying to focus on the positive. And not lose my mind. Haha.

*Terrell and I have been watching Designated Survivor this summer and we're hooked!! We recorded it during the Fall and saved it to watch over the summer when none of our shows would be on and we love it. It leaves you hanging every single episode so it's easy to see how binge watching can become a real thing. =)

*We've cut WAY down on electronics and "technology time" since Garrison has recovered. Yay! After going without it for a few days they almost forget about it. And they definitely aren't as "addicted" when they aren't using it as often. I'm a big believer in imaginative play and letting your kids be bored from time to time so cutting down on iPAd and Kindle time has been a good thing for everybody. 

*TV time is still a bit of an issue though. They are watching less than during Garrison's recovery but they're still pretty into it. I'm just trying to monitor the amount and keep them playing most of the day versus watching TV most of the day. I've considered requiring some reading time before screen time each day so we'll see.

*I'm tutoring again this summer and have a new student! I'm really enjoying it and still love teaching one on one. 

*I am LOVING the slower pace that comes with summer. Our evenings are soooo laid back and easy without all the school prep, extracurricular activities, and rushed bedtimes. I'm enjoying it to the fullest and savoring it!!

*I will say my bedtime has suffered some and that tends to make me sluggish every morning and mid-afternoon.... so I'll need to correct that soon. I just can't go to bed too late and feel normal the next day. Plus I'm having weird dreams almost every single night so I don't feel like I'm getting in that good, deep sleep I need. Maybe soon. Hopefully soon!! 

*Our baby boy has been talking non-stop this summer. He LOVES to talk and wins the award for most words used each day. Hahaha! He is still a big time mama's boy so most of his words are all for me. =) His little personality is so sweet and funny. I'm soaking up having every day with him at home.

*Garrison and Austin are both halfway through their summer reading for school. Garrison finished his first book report on a book he really enjoyed and flew through thanks to his recovery, and Austin is doing great with learning his Kindergarten sight words and completing his little summer reading assignment. I'm really proud of both of them.

*Last but not least, we have some exciting news to share this summer ......................I'm going to be teaching PreK for the upcoming school year!!! I am so, sooo excited!! I'm busy preparing and planning for my classroom and all things Prek! I honestly never thought I would go back to work full time this quickly, but God provided the perfect opportunity for us and we are all so thankful and looking forward to this brand new adventure for our family. I'm hoping to write more about the details of how it all came to be at some point. =)  

Have a great Thursday and a wonderful Father's Day Weekend!! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Anniversary Weekend

Another anniversary trip is in the books! This one was wonderful and special and another big time favorite!! It was super last minute and almost didn't happen at all so that made us appreciate it even more. The trip that almost wasn't, but thankfully was. =)

We decided when Garrison's surgery was scheduled for May 26th that we'd have to plan something last minute for our anniversary as long as his recovery was going well and we felt comfortable leaving him. So early last week we made a final decision to go ahead with a weekend getaway and started looking for a place to stay on or near a beach. The beach was our first choice because of how much we loved last year's trip and because the beach is honestly one of the cheapest trips you can take. Wellllll, we had ZERO success finding anything. Places were either already booked, out of our price range, or required a minimum stay. It was so discouraging and frustrating. We searched every beach town we knew along the gulf and the Atlantic, we searched mountain towns, cities in the southeast, places we'd never been, places we'd been more than once and nothing was working out. Such a bummer!! After more than one place fell through, we FINALLY took a chance on a hotel just outside Panama City late Wednesday night. Phew. We were a tad nervous but sooo relieved to have our stay booked and our trip officially planned!

Friday morning bright and early and ready to kick off our weekend! (So thankful that I'm finally totally relaxed and at peace about leaving my babies. I've come a looong way. =))

I read this book most of the way down along with being in charge of the radio off an on. Terrell was sweet to share the radio this year. 

Meanwhile our boys got to have breakfast with Granna, AnAn, and Piper and Anna got the sweetest picture of the big boys walking Piper out. Presh!!
 We made it to PCB in time for lunch and to get checked in early. Yay! This was the view from our little balcony. #deepandgratefulsigh #beautiful 

We unpacked a little, grabbed some snacks and drinks, changed into swimsuits, and got ready to spend the whole afternoon at the beach!

This was our view from our beach chairs and umbrella. =) We just relaxed when we got there. It was seriously the perfect afternoon.

The water was gorgeous. Very tropical island like. 

Before our first swim in the ocean!

We had the best afternoon together. Resting, relaxing, toes in the sand, breeze blowing, fun swimming, taking  a walk on the beach, bliss. =) 

Around 5:00 Friday afternoon we went back to our room to get ready to go out.

We really wanted to try new places this trip so we decided on Schooners after reading reviews/recommendations and other than it being waaaay across town from where we were staying, it was perfect. We loved the view, the food, the atmosphere, everything.

It was a really fun night with good food and a beautiful sunset.

Good morning Saturday. =) 

We had another gorgeous day on Saturday and made it to the beach early so we could enjoy the whole day. The weather was perfect! We ate breakfast in our room (there was a McDonald's across the street so Terrell got us biscuits) and then packed snacks for the rest of the day so we wouldn't have to leave for lunch.

I finished this book and loved it! It's one I'm glad I have my own copy of it because I'll want to read it again in the future I know. And I must say the sand, ocean, sun, and blue skies were the perfect setting for reading it. =)

Ready to walk on the beach and swim in the ocean with my love!

I could not get over how pretty the water was. Ahhhhhh. Just beautiful. 

When we eventually got hungry and pulled out our snacks there was a seagull nearby that we decided to share with.... so then we attracted everybody and fed the whole group. =) They loved us. Haha.

It got more and more crowded Saturday afternoon and our "neighbors" weren't the most pleasant but we enjoyed our day to the fullest. Lots of relaxing, swimming, snacking, reading, walking, more swimming, and more relaxing made it perfect. 

We had reservations at another new (to us) restaurant for Saturday evening so we came in and got ready for our fancy date. =) We had a delicious meal and a great time at G. Foley's. We loved our special anniversary date. 

And of course we decided to splurge on dessert! Sooo good!!

Sunday morning we slept in a little and then woke up to clouds and eventually a down pour as we were packing up and checking out. The perfect time to head out and make our way home to see our babies!

I started a new book and dozed most of the ride home. =)

Our boys greeted us with smiles and hugs and it was a sweet reunion! Yay!! #reunitedanditfeelssogood

They had a great weekend with Granna and Papa and got to do all sorts of fun stuff. We got to hear all about it and were so thankful they had such a fun and special weekend. HUGE thanks to my parents for keeping the boys plus Bailey all weekend long and making it a wonderful one for our babies!! 

Our anniversary weekend is something we look forward to so much and this year was a challenge to get it planned and make it happen, but we did it and had the best time. An annual getaway as a couple is soo good for us! Even more so as the kids get older and we find ourselves so busy. We can't recommend it enough. If you're considering it- do it, plan it, make it happen. =)

Happy 12th anniversary to my forever favorite person!! Looking forward to so many more anniversaries and getaways with you!!